Monday, November 10, 2008

Sweater Rescue: Part One

Have any of you ever braved the Goodwill Wearhouse? It's not for the faint of heart. This is the last place items donated to Goodwill are taken, before the knick knacks are smashed and thrown in a dumpster and the clothing is all sold to rag companies.

Workers at the GW wheel huge, wooden bins heaped with items out onto the floor of the store and you are free to sort through and fill your cart with anything you like.

The cons:
There is often the nerve wracking sound of items being smashed in the back room.
Some of the shoppers are really competitive when those bins are first rolled out. I'm perfectly happy sticking with the bins which have been in the showroom for a while.
You must take care when sorting through the bins. Quite often there are sharp objects lurking.
Your shoulders and arms can get tired and sore from sorting. This is especially true for those of us who are petite because the bins are somewhat tall.

The Pros:
Since Goodwill's prices, in their regular retail stores, have gotten markedly higher, due to E-bay's popularity, some very nice things end up in these bins.
The merchandise, except for the furniture, appliances, and books, is sold for $1.37 per pound. Be careful. Some individual items are so heavy that their "by-the-pound" price ends up being higher than it would have been priced at the regular Goodwill.

I've shopped for linen for quilts, anything in large sizes made from t-shirt fabric to experiment with projects from The Alabama Stitch Book, vintage quilt tops, and my favorite, cashmere sweaters. Yes! Cashmere. It's light as thisledown! I recently walked away with seven cashmere sweaters for $1.29 and tax.

Six of them where in awesome shape. Two of them still had their original tags! One cappucchino colored cardigan had a few tiny holes and one missing button but that didn't stop me.

First, I placed all the sweaters in a freezer bag and froze them for 72 hours. Moth larvae cannot survive freezing. This is why moths migrate. Then I washed them in cold water in the gentle cycle. I never send cashmere to the dry cleaners. It simply isn't necessary. Then I dryed them in the dryer on the gentlest setting. I recommend using a dryer sheet because the cashmere can smell, well, a little gamey, when drying. Always clean your lint screen with a soft toothbrush and a little Dawn dishwashing soap after using a dryer sheet. The sheet can occlude the screen and keep your dryer from working efficiently.

Then, I checked the inside of the sweater and, sure enough, there was a spare button still stitched to the inside seam.
More soon....

No comments: